Tuesday, March 22, 2011

From Our Teammate: Melissa Brown

“Greater things have yet to come and greater things are still to be done here.” from Chris Tomlin's “God of This City”

Four years ago I was a college freshmen and came to Arizona with my campus ministry on a mission trip to San Carlos. My heart was immediately broken for this people group. The hopelessness, the longing to be loved and cared for pulled on my heart. Completely overwhelmed I went back home to North Carolina knowing I would be back. I came back for every spring after that and two summers, by myself. Each time God’s will and passion for my life became more and more evident. The spring break of my senior year I interviewed for a teaching job in the San Carlos Unified School District. I found out in May that I for sure had a job either at the Alternative or regular High School. I drove across the country in July to move out here still not knowing if I was at the Alternative or the traditional High School, I did not want to be at the Alternative at all. Well, God had other plans….a few days before teachers were to report to school I found out that I was at the Alternative School.

At the beginning I was unsure of why God put me at the Alternative…”I’m a first year teacher”…”I don’t have the experience”…”Why?”. After the first few weeks it became very clear why God chose the Alternative High School for me. This group of students that lack a couple or all of the following: credits, motivation, belief in themselves, purpose, love and hope. Though these can be found at the high school too, I have more option for one on one time and I see my students for more than 55 minutes a day.

“My eyes are small but they have seen enormous things…” Over half of the students enrolled at the alternative school are parents or are soon to be parents. So far this year we have had two students stabbed near the heart. Also we have had students threaten to kill themselves, though I’m 99% sure almost all have thought about it and some have tried. Some of the things the children in San Carlos have to go through in their lives I don’t know that I could deal with. For example, everyone in your family is an alcoholic yet you have the heart of a teddy bear and you aren’t loved. Being kicked out of the home you’re living in because your baby’s father is not liked and then having nowhere to go. Lying in bed listening to your dad and mom fight in the next room and then the fight ending with your dad killing your mom. Being blamed for every problem your alcoholic mother has. This is just a few of the lives my students have to live. Through all of this no one has shown them how to deal with the pain and hurt. Instead they think very low of themselves, cut themselves or other physical mutilation, drink, do drugs, try and fill their empty hearts with “love” from a gang or a lover. They are crying out to be loved, cared for, thought of and wanted.

From day one I have been transparent allowing my students to ask any question and I would give an honest answer. My students have asked me to pray for them, some have asked to come to church, some ask if Jesus is “cool”, others ask questions about my opinion on things they have seen or heard of the church . God is working on some many hearts.

Pray that God breaks their hearts even more and that more questions will come, a spark will ignite, He will be seen and felt, and that my lost students will be found and come into His kingdom of LOVE.

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